Monday, August 30, 2010


Despite the fact that Governor Chris Christie fired Education Commissioner Bret Schundler over an application error that may have cost the state a shot at $400 million in federal "Race to the Top" education grants, an Assembly panel will still convene a hearing on the issue one week from tomorrow.

Assembly Appropriations Committee chairperson Nellie Pou says Schundler has been invited to testify, but he has yet to respond. Trenton's political establishment and State House insiders are all waiting anxiously to learn Schundler's decision.

Schundler did not go quietly. The day after the application mistake story was broken by the Newark Star Ledger, Christie blamed a mid-level education department staffer, the New Jersey Education Association and the Obama Administration. He claimed Schundler corrected to error in a personal interview with federal officials two weeks before the grants were awarded.

The following day, the Obama Administration released a video showing that clearly was not the case. On the tape Schundler and several aides can be seen and heard as they were unable to provide the information requested. Christie fired Schundler the next day, but Schundler now claims he never told Christie he corrected the error. Christie disputes that claim.

If Schundler does show up for the hearing, there will likely be some serious fireworks.

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